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The 7 spellings

NOTE: I’ve stopped using these spellings on this site. I found them too difficult to remember when this was the only place I used them (I think it would be no big deal if we used them everywhere). And I found that it left untouched too many words that should obviously be respelled.

This site uses simpler spellings based on those supported by the Spelling Society and added to my own reserch. Included here is a badge you can put on your site if you want to use these spellings—even if it’s just for one post.

Note that I don’t apply these rules in the titles of my posts, for serch-engine-optimization reasons.

Seven Simple Rules for Simpler Spelling

7 Simple Rules for Simple SpellingFor the following changes (and only werds affected by the following changes), double the consonant after a stressed short vowel, including one-syllable words that end in F, K, L, S, and Z (K is “doubled” as CK). Consider this an addendum to each of the seven rules to clarify how they should be implemented.

1. Use simpler alternatives

In a number of cases, two spellings are available and valid or are obvious from changes made to similar werds. Establishing the simpler of the two as the preferred spelling is a first, easy step toward improvement.

  • Use American spellings (center, theater, color, mold, fetus, encyclopedia, memorize, check, fulfill, judgment, program, tire).
  • Use simpler alternatives where two spellings are valid (adviser, ameba, subpena, glamor).
  • Change the remaining -LOGUE spellings to -LOG (dialog, monolog, analog, cataloging).

2. Spell /e/ as E

Respell as E all cases where /e/ is not already spelled E.

  • enny, menny, bred, led (metal), red (past tense of read), thretten, deth, steddy, alreddy, fether, welth, werd, werld, ern, lern, serch, agen, agenst, frend, plesure, tresure, trechery

Special cases: ocian, ocianic, sargent

3. Respell EA when it does not have the /ee/ sound

Respell EA whenever it does not make the sound /ee/, /ee ay/, or /ee u/ (plead, create, area).

Respell EA as A when it sounds like /ah/.

  • hart, harken, harty, harth

Respell EA as AI when it sounds like /ay/.

  • bair, wair, braik, grait, tair

Respell EAU as OE when it sounds like /oh/.

  • buroe, platoe, chatoe

Special cases: buty, butiful, yay (for yea), yaa (for yeah)

4. Spell /f/ as F

Respell PH and UGH as F when they sound like /f/.

  • foto, graff, laff, ruff, filosofy, coff, troff

5. Remove silent GH

Respell OUGH as AU where it sounds like /au/.

  • baut, faut, naut, aut, braut, wraut

Respell IGHT and EIGHT as ITE  when they sound like /iyt/ and IGH as IE when it sounds like /iy/.

  • nite, fite, fiter, liter, hite, slite (for slight and sleight), thie, sie

Simply remove other cases of silent GH and UGH.

  • altho, thoro, boro, donut, strait, drout, bou, eit, freit, nei, neibor, wei, slei

Special cases: thru, broham (for brougham), doh, hi, hiway, hiland

6. Remove silent G and silent B

Remove silent G.

  • naw, nat, nome, campain, colone, fein, dein, soveren, foren, rein, ensin, diafram

Replace GN with NE when the vowel is long.

  • aline, benine, sine, impune (for align, benign, sign, impugn)

Replace GN with NI where it sounds like /ny/.

  • lasania, viniette, coniac (for lasagna, vignette, cognac)

Remove silent B.

  • dum, bom, bomming, thum, crum, det, dettor, dout, douter, num, lim, plumming, suttle, suttly

Special cases: coam, toom, woom

7. Respell EI unless the sound is /ay/

Respell root werds with EI when the sound is something other than /ay/, such as /ee/, /iy/, or /i/. This does not take precedence over the other rules (so friend loses its I because of rule 1). Note that iether and niether are spelled the same regardless of the pronunciation as /iy/ or /ee/.

Respell /iy/ as IE.

  • fiesty, hiest, siesmic, rottwieler

Respell /ee/ as E if the traditional spelling has the form EIcv; otherwise, spell as IE.

  • wierd, protien. lietmotif
  • receve, seze, celing, codene, cafene, lesure (for US /lee zhur/, but UK pronunciation produces same spelling: lesure for /le zhur/)

Respell as I when the sound is /i/.

  • counterfit, forfit, siv, kerchif, mischif, varigated

No IE werds make the /ay/ sound, so none are respelled. Likewise, compound werds and roots with suffixes don’t change.

  • veil, sheik, wei, slei, etc. are still spelled EI
  • herein, wherein, deism, theism, emceeing, blueish

Special cases: decete, recete (for receipt), concete, kalidoscope, stine, plebian, farmacopia

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Brother Ben permalink
    2010-July-24 2:36 pm

    This is an interesting blog. You are definitely bold taking on vowel pronunciation. I’ve done experiments into spelling reform and have found that I prefer just adding letters that supercede current letters, thus altering the alphabet.

    The English Spelling of vowels is very varied and I have often thought that reduction to phonetic spelling of vowels creates a spelling that has the visual appeal of kid-spelling (“Wen yu go tu the store culd yu get sum coffey”). Your modest set of 7 rules helps clear off the more varried spellings (like ‘ea’ and ‘ough’) without going into full spelling revolution.

    Do you have a second set of more radical changes given the acceptance of this set?

  2. Linda permalink
    2011-September-21 7:10 am

    This may be one of the reasons people seem to be more stupid now, not having to remember proper spelling, never mind meanings nor being bothered with an attempt to learn.
    It’s bad enough the manners of people, but simple things like learning the basics in their own language, or that of an other seems to mean so little.
    As I am reading through more and more the pronounciation of the words you are changing the spelling of then also changes and so makes a word I would not know once said.

  3. 2011-September-21 11:18 pm

    Any spelling reform would require some getting used to. I’m not suggesting any change of pronunciation.

  4. Michelle permalink
    2017-October-5 8:09 am

    Hummmm. To take just take problematic
    Example: remove the b in doubt and you remove its association with the Latin dubitare… with double… with meaning! Would you change the pronounciation of indubitable to match?

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